Campus Life

Resources available as University shifts to remote instruction

COVID testing continues to be available; Students reminded of virtual resources for remote learning, health and wellness, and staying connected

With Penn State’s courses transitioning to remote delivery and students living on campuses departing their residences by Nov. 20, the University is reminding its community of available resources and guidance — including testing — for the remainder of the fall semester and calendar year. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With Penn State’s courses transitioning to remote delivery and students living on campuses departing their residences by Nov. 20, the University is reminding its community of available resources and guidance — including testing — for the remainder of the fall semester and calendar year.

“I’m thankful for the efforts of the entire University community in doing their part to mitigate the impact of this virus,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “Without your dedication and commitment, we would not have been able to accomplish our goal of returning to in-person teaching this fall.”

Barron said the University is continuing to support students who must remain on Penn State’s campuses across the commonwealth, including student-athletes, international students and individuals who are unable to return home for the Thanksgiving break.

He said Penn State remains dedicated to the health and safety of local communities, and has enacted weekly mandatory testing for all students remaining in all on-campus residences, and made walk-up testing available for students as well as employees who have been authorized to work on campus, as part of this commitment.

Barron continued, “We’ve encouraged all of our students to make smart decisions as they plan their travels. That’s why we urged COVID-19 testing for students prior to their return home.” 

Traveler testing

  • Required COVID-19 testing for travelers: Per a travel order issued by Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, travelers over age 11 entering Pennsylvania from locations outside the commonwealth, including Pennsylvanians who are returning home, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result from a test taken within 72 hours before arriving or place themselves in quarantine for 10 days without testing or seven days with a negative test on or after day five of quarantine. Any member of the University community embarking on personal travel outside of the commonwealth for more than 24 hours is required to follow the state travel order; however, individuals traveling to and from the commonwealth for the purposes of work or for medical treatment are exempt from the order. Further details about the travel order and exemptions can be found on the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Information for Travelers webpage.


Penn State is announcing the following changes to random surveillance testing and walk-up testing at its campuses:

  • Student and employee random surveillance testing: There will be no random surveillance testing for students and employees at all Penn State locations, except Hershey, between Nov. 30 and Jan. 18. Penn State Hershey will continue random surveillance testing for students and employees due to the campus’ clinical focus. Students at Hershey will be required to submit to COVID testing upon return from the Thanksgiving break, and classes will be fully remote during the first week before returning to in-person instruction.
  • Required weekly testing for all students remaining in residence halls: From Nov. 30 to Jan. 18, students who continue living in campus residence halls are required to have weekly COVID testing. At University Park, the testing location will be at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. The testing locations at Altoona, Behrend and Harrisburg campuses will be communicated directly to students. For students living on campus at other Penn State locations, required testing will be conducted through a Vault Health mail-in kit. All students living on Penn State campuses will receive a weekly email reminding them of this required testing.
  • University Park walk-up testing: Walk-up testing will be available at the Hintz Family Alumni Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning Nov. 30 through Jan. 18 for all students — living on- or off-campus — and for employees listed in the University’s Return to Work database. Regular use of the walk-up testing site is strongly encouraged for any student living off campus. There will be some exceptions to this availability when the dates fall on or near an actual holiday date. Prior to Nov. 30, employees in the Return to Work database at University Park can opt to receive a Vault Health mail-in kit for asymptomatic testing.
  • Walk-up testing at other Penn State campuses: At Penn State Altoona, Behrend and Harrisburg, walk-up testing will be available to all students, living on- and off-campus, from Nov. 30 to Jan. 18 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with hours varying by campus. Testing locations will be communicated directly to campus students. Voluntary opt-in testing via a Vault Health mail-in kit is available for students living on- and off-campus at all other Penn State campuses, and for employees listed in the Return to Work database
  • Symptomatic on-demand testing: University Park students living on campus or in the local community who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to schedule testing appointments with University Health Services (UHS) via myUHS. UHS’s hours of operation after Nov. 20 are available here. Students living at a Commonwealth Campus should seek symptomatic testing via their campus’ health services or a local provider.
  • Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms at home should consult a local health care provider. If positive, students should self-isolate in accordance with all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines.

Remote learning, teaching resources

As the University transitions to remote learning after Nov. 20, students and faculty members are reminded of the following resources to assist with remote learning and teaching:

Health and wellness services

Penn State health and wellness services will continue to be available to students through the remainder of the semester. The University offers a number virtual wellness resources, including YOU@PSUWellTrackgeneral online mental health screenings, the CAPS Virtual Library and Life Hacks with CAPS. Virtual programming including fitness and wellness videos are available through Campus RecreationHealth Promotion and Wellness offers a variety of virtual events and programs to help students manage their mental and physical health.

  • University Health Services: University Health Services will be operating on a modified schedule during the week of Thanksgiving, and the 24/7 nurse advice line at 814-863-4463 will continue to operate as normal and is available for students from all Penn State campuses.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)CAPS will continue to operate normal business hours through Nov. 25, with limited coverage Nov. 26-29. The free, virtual consultation service with CAPS counselors through CAPS Chat will remain available during business hours. The Penn State Crisis Line is available 24/7 at 877-229-6400 or by texting “LIONS” to 741741 to students at all Penn State campuses.  

Campus services and facilities

A number of campus facilities and services have adjusted their days and hours of operation starting on Nov. 30:

  • Campus buildings and classrooms: There will be limited access to campus buildings and classrooms. Buildings remaining in use will continue to be cleaned in accordance with all Environmental Health and Safety guidelines and individuals are reminded to wear masks and practice social distance inside all University facilities.
  • University Park: General purpose classrooms in Boucke, Hammond, Osmond, Thomas and Willard buildings will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays from Nov. 30 through Dec. 11. From Dec. 12 to Dec. 18, the buildings will be opened from 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Students are required to observe masking protocols and social distance. All other education and general buildings will be locked, except for those with card or key access. Faculty members who wish to continue teaching from a classroom after Nov. 20 must make arrangements in advance.
  • Commonwealth Campuses: Each campus will communicate classroom availability directly to students and faculty.
  • Housing and Food Services: Market Pollock at Pollock Commons at University Park campus will be opened Nov. 23-Dec. 19 to accommodate students remaining on campus. Penn State Go mobile ordering will be active for Market Pollock convenience store orders only. HUB Dining will be operating with reduced hours and menu availability. Other Penn State locations will communicate directly with their on-campus students about dining hours and availability.
  • HUB-Robeson Center: The HUB-Robeson Center will be open 24/7, but closed Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 23-Jan. 4. HUB Dining will be operating with reduced hours and menu availability.
  • University Libraries: Penn State University Libraries will be offering adjusted availability and hours after Nov. 20.
  • University Park libraries hours and locations
  • Commonwealth Campus libraries: Hours and locations
  • Campus recreation facilities at University Park: Some University Park facilities will be opened during the remainder of the semester. Students are reminded that they still must reserve workout times. Closures are as follows:
  • Intramural Building: CLOSED Nov. 21, 26-27; Dec. 12-TBD
  • Hepper Fitness Center: CLOSED Nov. 22-TBD
  • McCoy Natatorium: CLOSED Nov. 21, 26-27, Dec. 12-TBD
  • Tennis Center: CLOSED Nov. 21, 25-28, Dec. 12-TBD
  • All other facilities: CLOSED
  • Campus recreation facilities at Commonwealth Campuses: Each Penn State location will communicate directly to its campus community schedules and availability of recreation facilities. 
  • Campus transit
  • Loop and Link service: CATA will be operating on a reduced service schedule beginning Nov. 23 with only Blue Loop and Red Link service. There will be no White Loop or Green Link service. Full service will resume on Jan. 16.
  • Campus shuttles: Campus shuttle service via College Avenue will operate with normal service Nov. 23-25, Nov. 30-Dec. 23 and Jan. 4-18. There will be no campus shuttle service via Beaver Avenue from Nov. 23 through Jan. 18. Full service for both routes will resume on Jan. 19.
  • Parking and parking decks: Normal parking regulations remain in effect and all parking decks remain accessible. Transportation Services has announced adjustments to some parking regulations at University Park campus, effective Nov. 23.
  • Penn State Berkey Creamery: Open from noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Nov. 27. Limited curbside pickup also available. Learn more about the creamery’s schedule here.

Staying connected and informed

  • Follow Penn State on social media: Keep up with the University on its official FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages, as well as the Nittany Lion mascot on Twitter.
  • Socialize with peers through group messaging: Chat with classmates or study groups through Canvas or via group chat.
  • Join a student group: Penn State offers more than 1,000 student organizations that offer opportunities to meet new people and discover new passions.
  • Virtual get togethers: While health and safety guidance from local, state and federal officials advise limiting contact, students can continue to keep touch via virtual hangouts. 
  • Check out virtual events: Although courses have transitioned to remote learning, Penn State will continue to offer a number of virtual events, including performances, lectures, activities and museum exhibitions, all of which are publicized on Penn State News, Penn State Today and the University’s official social media platforms.
  • Penn State News and Penn State Today: Penn State’s official news website will continue to be updated regularly, and Penn State Today will continue to be sent to all students, faculty and staff members. 
  • Penn State’s virus information websiteThe University’s dedicated coronavirus website contains the latest information on Penn State’s efforts to mitigate the pandemic. Additional resources and guidance to help community members with the transition to remote instruction can be found on the website's Return Home page
Last Updated January 14, 2021